Part 2 (Construction) – Guidance to Storage of Pesticides on the Farm & other professional users.

The HSE, has laid out a specification on how to store pesticides in a responsible way.

This section, focuses on ‘Construction’

You must provide a store that is resistant to fire, capable of retaining leakage/spillage (e.g. if containers were to melt in a fire) dry, frost-free, adequately ventilated and secure against unauthorised access. Please take the following factors into account:

General Principles

The HSE say:

  1. Quote: The Store, including any doors but not the roof, should be made of materials which will resist fire for 30 minutes or longer. Unquote:

All shipping containers are constructed of a high tensile steel, often ‘Cor-ten’. Corten steel is robust enough to withstand the high seas and deters the corrosion from the elements. Our containers have wooden floors which we replace or overlay with steel checkerplate. Resulting in, the whole interior being steel. As this is a completely steel structure, the fire should contain itself for 30 minutes. 

2. Quote: The Store, or the area in a which the store is located, should be able to retain leakage or spillage to a volume of 110% of the total quantity of products likely to be stored (185% if you are in an environmentally sensitive area). Unquote:

We fit steel flooring which is bunded, to avoid leakage. In a 10ft we fit a 6in high bund and a 20ft a 12in high bund. We offer 2 sorts of steel bunded floors e.g. 1st fitted with steel checkerplate laid over the original wooden floor and the 2nd is a steel raised mesh flooring fitted with a drainage hole and sump, so the customer can drain out any spillage. We don’t know how much pesticide or liquid chemical you will be storing, so if a different height bund is required, then we can adapt our specification to meet with the customer’s requirements.

3. Quote: The bund should be soundly constructed of non-fragile materials resistant to permeation of liquids e.g. metal (not foil), concrete, bricks, stone slabs and concrete products. rendering or sealing the building materials may be necessary, especially at joints. Unquote:

We always fit a steel bund and it is welded into the container. All other materials are no longer visible and will not react with your chemicals.

4. Quote: The bund should comprise, or extend around, the whole periphery of the store, and should not be compromised by, e.g. entrances and exits or apertures where services enter the store. Unquote:

All our shipping containers are fitted with steel bunds, there is a small recess area from the doors to the bund and we fit hazard labels on the bunded area to show there is a possible trip area. All spillages will remain within the bund at all times, as long as you have the correct height bund for the amount of chemicals you are storing.

5. Quote: Bunding may be acheived by standing your pesticides within a metal container of sufficient capacity e.g. redundant water tank. Make sure doors/lids and windows provide adequate security and are kept locked or otherwise secure when not in use. Unquote:

Our Shipping container conversions in chemical stores are all steel and are fitted with a lock box (steel housing for a padlock) which will deter bolt cropper access. Our padlocks come with 3 numbered keys and more keys can be ordered from us only. A Shipping container is a perfect lockable chemical storage solution.

6. Quote: Avoid having a water supply passing through the bunded area.Unquote:

All our chemical storage containers are watertight and structurally sound, so there should not be any water seeping into the storage area. Of course if the container is damaged after delivery, then a repair will have to be undertaken to ensure the container is watertight.

7. Quote: The Store itself, or the area in which it stands, should be roofed. Unquote:

All our chemical storage containers are fitted with a steel corrugated flat roof.

Converting existing structures – shipping containers

Remember the general principles and:

  1. Quote: Don’t use shipping containers with wooden floors or sides. Unquote:

All Shipping containers are built of corten steel with 28mm marine treated plywood floors. We always remove or cover over the wooden floor (so there is no wood anywhere near the pesticide storage area). We have  2 types of steel flooring ( 1 steel checkerplate laid over the wooden floor (welded in) and the other steel raised mesh floor (we remove the wood completely)).

2. Quote: Create bunding by fitting a sill across the doorway or by tilting the store away from the entrance. Unquote:

Our steel checkerplate bunding is like a steel tray inside the container, see below:

Chemical store fitted with steel checkerplate floor and steel bund

And our steel raised mesh floor bund is shown below:


3. Quote: Ensure that there are no low-level ventilation ducts Unquote:;

We fit air vents above the bunded area, so there will not be any leakages. Other vents are fitted high near the top rail of the container.

4. Quote: Check at regular intervals that wall-to-floor joints have not deteriorated. Unquote:

This is down to the customer, but all joints will be totally sealed (at the time of sale) and will not allow any water ingress.

For the purposes of organised storage:

We fit 3 x Steel shelves with a lip, to avoid any products rolling off. The shelving is always fitted behind the left hand door and they are the length of the container. If you wish to change this configuration, then please do let us know.

Information sourced from the HSE – For more information:

About Jane Billing
Jane Billing has over 30 years in shipping container supply. During that time Jane has earned a very broad knowledge of the whole shipping container industry. From construction, to shipping, to adaption and conversions, if you have a question about any aspect of the shipping container industry Jane will likely have the answer for you. After many years working for some of the biggest names in the shipping container industry Jane set up her own company, Billie Box Ltd in 2012. Since launching in 2012 Billie Box Ltd has sold well over 1500 new and used containers.